Time check, 1:44 am on 29 May 2022 (Sunday), and I must finally deal with this post-mortem in the hopes that this will be cathartic. (Post-mortem, get it? An examination of what happened. A post about ‘death’. And towards the end, it was really a post that touches upon death. And look at me, explaining the triple entendre on the title.)
Posting everything for posterity.
It’s been 20 days since the election ended and there’s still a lot to process. Frankly speaking, it was difficult to get through the days since the 9th. And look at me, I may even be one of the last few people writing things down on a blog, instead of making a vlog. I may be old school like that, but it is what it is.
I was extremely remiss of my school work leading to the D-Day. I had full on election anxiety and I could not think of anything else. I was a mess. To be fair, I had been a mess mentally last year, but somehow, leading up to the 9th was a whole lot to deal with. I even had to email the university on the 8th that I would be taking a Leave of Absence (LOA), or even drop the course because I felt I was not at my best these past few months.
Still, I was advised to carry on and, gahd, it was tedious. With some miracle from out of nowhere, I managed to tune everything out and pass i.e. pass the requirement. No grade yet. And if ever I manage to just get a barely passing grade, I would not mind at all. I was not even thinking how my fairly good grades would be blemished because I was such a mess. It was enough for me to finally deal with my thoughts about everything.
So if I pass, only comprehensive exams and thesis left for me. And if I take the exam this year, it will exactly be 10 years since I’ve last taken one for my first master’s degree. And I will siomai again.
Where do I start? Perhaps here:
This election season was the very first time I was so invested. It was already my 3rd time voting for the highest post in the land and, during these three times, none of my candidates won. The first two, it felt not so much of a big deal. The third time, however, proved me wrong.
Perhaps I was too invested. Perhaps I had too much hope. Perhaps I hoped really hard that some hope will befall upon us.
I was wrong.
I have already attended at least three rallies: first was last March in Pasig when we got there towards the end, second was in Pasay, and third in Makati. I really felt that we (the country) will have a genuine chance for something good for all of us.
I have always been very hopeful with the general atmosphere not only during those rallies, but even in those few times that I get to see supporters in the flesh out an about.
Even online, that was the case. Although in hindsight, I ask myself if I was too deep inside an echo chamber to not see that fate will have to pull the rug under us.
Since the results slowly started trickling in the evening, it is safe to say that I was not the only one who felt doused with cold water. I understand that it was going to be an uphill battle right from the beginning, having to go against someone who had already began skirmishes since for about a decade. Thirty if you include those years they got back in the country.
And they had a very good hold of the populace leading of the 9th.
But I guess the most jarring ones were those that happened within my immediate circle.
Within my network, there were some people I knew who thought we should be headed to a different direction. I was even dragged into one social back-and-forths I chose not to engage as I had a feeling where it was headed. For those who are talking to the people on the ground, they can be likened to the ones you need to leave as they are because it may likely be talking to a brick will. In these instances, I can choose to ignore those within my network because I may not likely talk to them in person in the near future.
For some of my relatives, it was a slightly different case. I could not believe how some of them were acting and even talking. It felt weird to see them worship the father, notwithstanding the well documented cases of atrocities. One baffling reason was their parents told them so. Or their parents felt ‘safe’.
While I am the one to question someone’s lived experience (I was just working on a qualitative research proposal), there are basically things that are non-negotiable for me. And those atrocities are not morally ambiguous to begin with.
I was already gobsmacked on several occasions on the many logical fallacies committed especially my loved ones. For instance, you cannot give someone a free pass because ‘every’ administration supposedly had skeletons in their closets. Isn’t it okay to condemn all of these? Can we not cherry-pick which one is wrong and not?
Another one, choosing the son because of what the father was, what the father achieved. I cannot reconcile how we have double standards on the father-achievement was transferrable to the son, yet should separate what the father did from his son. On the other hand, how can we link the other candidate to other people she is NOT blood-related to? I am still confused.
While questionable, I can somehow just shrug.
I knew deep in my heart there was a very small chance of the best candidates winning. Still, I took a chance along with 15+ million. No regret about that.
While I had another round of unfollow, and even unfriend to those I barely knew or had any online activity with, I am still not over the fact that my own parents voted poorly. I am still disappointed with the two of them. Somehow, while I can only do so much to convince other people, it is those two most important votes I was after. But to no avail.
The thing is, I knew both of them, like a lot of people their age, are very much exposed to disinformation. That was very hard to counter especially as those people within their network also consume the same thing – their own echo chamber. I did my best to break through that. I did my best to appeal to them with what is ‘acceptable’ in our family. You see, we NEVER just talk about this and we are just expected to let all these questionable behavior slide and “leave them be because they are already old”.
Which is very sad.
The night before voting, I knew what their decision would be. I could not sleep because I was running a list how to appeal to them. I had to travel all the way from Makati to Marikina just to vote. I unfortunately was not able to easily book Grab and I got there when my father was already about to vote. I managed to talk to my mother when she was near the door of the holding area and appealed to vote for what is good with the kids. I appealed. She just answered almost dismissively that she’d know what to do.
Did she listen to my appeal? While I was waiting in line to vote, I was hoping that my parents would have a change of heart. It was very personal for me to know they, supposedly decent people, would heed my request.
At least for my mother, I got my answer when she approached me and my sister while we were both still queueing. My mother, who had to take another lane for senior citizens, had to rant about those people who cut the line. She recounted she had to tell someone in ‘pink’ why she had the gall to do that, even wearing that color. She was connecting someone’s color with what that lady was supposedly voting. She may have no idea that just so happened to be, well, the color of her shirt the same way that I almost wore red before voting to make sure I would be allowed inside, with all those rumors online about questionable gesturing from the people manning the ballots.
(Come to think of it. She was really that prejudiced against my candidate because back in October 2022, the weekend when the woman in pink announced her candidacy, my mother even had the gall to pejoratively call her ‘lugaw‘. The woman, who finished her undergraduate degree in Economics from UP and eventually became a lawyer, was called ‘lugaw‘ by my mother who, in several lifetimes may not accomplish the same feat. The audacity to call her such.)
I knew right there and then she voted differently. And even until we had lunch, she would not stop blabbering about that lady. She also could not look at me in the eye. From that moment, I knew it was a lost cause for both of them. I personally felt like I failed. Even just these two votes, I could not reason out to.
That evening when I got back home in Makati watching the news, I was already very disappointed. I could not hide it because I felt the uncertainty ahead of us. As a breadwinner, I feel (present tense) it very hard. I sent a message to the family group chat about some measures we may have to make financially as we have to brace for impact.
I had trouble sleeping that night. I was very bothered. My various chat groups were on fire as I talked to several groups of friends on the events that were unfolding before our eyes. That was the first time I’ve cried. And I cried myself to sleep.
The following morning, checking upon them as usual, I was informed of the most stupid thing that my parents had to share to the kids regarding their deplorable vote. Over breakfast, they had to rationalize how their questionable votes was made.
For my father, it was because his side of the family from way back benefited from the ‘support’ of Sr. to migrate to the US. It did not even directly benefit him at all, mind you.
For my mother, she was recounting how her maternal great grandfather was running in the same circle as Sr. because he was a lawyer.
No effin’ reason whatsoever regarding the son. I got ticked off so hard I had to tell them off.
I was told that my mother even had to gloat. She had to gloat “I will be as rowdy as I can because Jr. won”, despite how uneasy the people around her was. She basically just did not care about the people around her. She was that selfish.
They voted because of something that did not benefit us directly. They voted for someone who is the exact reason why since 1988, they had to work overseas because, well, the economy was in shambles after Sr. was ousted, basically leaving us with no parents until about 2017/2013. That was how messed up that was.
They voted because they felt they had 50-year-utang na loob (debt of gratitude) to someone that did not even make them rich.
They voted because of some association.
I know that my paternal grandfather passed away around the time the dictator was about to be ousted because he was defending them and had a heart attack. May he rest in peace but that kind of fanaticism and blindly carrying over of those stories to my nephew and niece I could not let happen. We are not going to inherit those. Stop brainwashing the children.
That was the last of it. I basically stopped speaking to my parents since May 10, not until they reflect hard on their choices.
Several times, even until today, I find myself softening a bit regarding this.
But each time I remember how they have blood on their hands and willfully would have spread the same thing to the kids, I stop myself.
I amso disappointed with them and will likely continue to do so not until they see what the issue is.
How can two supposedly very kind people be like this and think like this?
How can they even not empathize with the victims of those who were previously in power?
How can they think that just because they were not affected by the storm, the storm did not happen at all?
While I am not a fan of bringing up that utang na loob because it is a very toxic Pinoy culture, how can they think of having that debt of gratitude to someone they did not directly benefit from, but neglect someone they have RIGHT NOW (doing his best to make their lives the most comfortable possible, for them not feel the impact of the pandemic at all and cover over for them as much as he cane and was just) pleading something from them FOR THE KIDS. Why?
I am so disappointed with them.
Two days after, I had an epiphany:
That was the point I realized the focus should be on the kids. The kids still has a long way to go, and those questionable things we had to go through growing up, they do not have to inherit them. I have to reconsider where all my resources go, with what I believe where hope is.
Still, it did not stop me from being mad and sad. I think I cried until around Thursday several times a day, especially over how my parents voted and how sorry I was for the victims.
Come Friday the 13th, I thought I was already doing well. Or I thought I was.
I was to attend a one year death anniversary of my friend’s 11-year old daughter. She was a special child, and she was special. She died because of COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic. A lot of travel restrictions were put in place eventually in the country when my friend decided to leave their child here and not bring her to Sri Lanka as she will be better here. Yet she caught the virus here.
I think that was the point last year where it felt really hitting too close to home. The point my anxiety heightened for my own family.
A lot of shoulda, coulda, woulda, of course, but we need to be better as a country. And we deserve better. But the 31+m have spoken, including the voices of my parents.
And I hope we are wrong. But the records speak for themselves, and those two most important voices in my life chose to decide out of nostalgia and proximity.
I am still so disappointed with them.
3:37 am. I’m done. Insomnia is still real.
Praying for all of our future and savings dollars, just in case.
Ending with this clip I took of the crowd singing ‘Rosas’ in Makati, as I’m doing my best to be hopeful of the future. (click photo to play)